September Hong Kong Jewelry Show Recap

Hisano and I finally returned from Hong Kong last week and have been busy sorting pearls as the the shipments come in. We spent a full eight days in Japan and Hong Kong filling the vault with new freshwater, Tahitian, South Sea, akoya and even Galatea carved pearls.

On the first night of the show, we met up with our friends from Pearl-Guide.com, who came from quite literally around the world to see the show. We hosted a dinner on Knutsford Terrace in Tsim Sha Tsui. It was a great kick off for a successful week.

Our friends from Pearl-Guide.com’s discussion forum

The September show is the busiest one for us because we are stocking for the holidays, so we were selecting pearls from morning until evening, every day for the entire week. We were fortunate to find nearly everything that was on the Christmas “buy list,” and nearly everything that was on the pearl “wish list” for our friends who contacted us before we left (and those who contacted us while we were there)!

A usual, most of the excitement was in the freshwater pearl category, although we spent the majority of our time sorting and selecting Tahitian, South Sea and akoya pearls. That said, we did find a very small lot of something extraordinarily special from a Vietnamese pearl farm. The pearls were so special, they were really only for show. On the last day, however, the farmer agreed to sell them to us. Hisano is going to blog about the show soon, so she will be the one showing those beauties off, as well as the special Edison pearls she selected.

Hisano Selecting large Edison single pearls and pairs

Hisano matched a fireball strand for a special customer

Two of our friends had requested special strands; one a unique fireball necklace like the necklace Hisano matched at the June show, and another with very special Edison pearls. Hisano went through a large lot of fireball pearls with a greenish-copper coloration to remake one very special strand. I re-worked and matched the metallic, slightly drop-shaped Edison strand below with whopping 14-15 mm pearls. The size is actually quite special as the standard size in matched strands is 12-15 mm. What this actually means is that the entire strand is made up of center “hero” pearls. Most Edison strands only get one! This is going to become someone’s statement piece, no doubt.

A 14-15 mm, giant Edison metallic pearl strand

A 14-15 mm, giant Edison metallic pearl strand

The loot that I am probably most happy with was something I’ve been seeking for years, since the time we first made metallic round strands – uniform-color, perfectly round metallic strands.

When we arrived in Hong Kong, a good friend of mine and owner of the farm that gave us soufflé pearls called me to say he had something he really wanted me to see before the show got under way. He has always been our best source for metallic pearls, separating out everything he thought we would like. What he had matched this time blew me away. The strands are perfectly round, graduated and metallic, and of Freshadama grade. We selected 58 strands, including just a few mixed-color strands that were just too special to pass up. Our friends from Pearls of Joy selected a few as well, and between the two of us, we took everything he had made.

Uniform color, intensely metallic, perfectly round strands of freshadama grade

For those of you waiting to hear from us, we have nearly finished sorting through everything. If we haven’t reached out to you yet, we will soon!

 

Welcoming On The Reel Production & Power of Pearl

Two and a half years ago I took a trip around the world with a film crew, shooting pearl farms in some of the remotest reaches of the world. It was on this trip that our short Tahitian Pearl Documentary was filmed – the same documentary that went on to win the 2013 IFFF Short Film, Documentary award.

The crew that I traveled with, from On the Reel Productions, is still traveling and shooting today, most recently on a pearl farm in Northwest Australia – beyond the outback, where crocodiles outnumber people.

On the Reel Productions is owned by Ahbra Perry and Taylor Higgins, a pair of young filmmakers that have spent the past four years working closely with the pearl industry, visiting a total of 11 different countries. They’ve succeeded in capturing the real story of pearl production and the relationships pearl producers have with local communities and Mother Nature, with boots on the ground and flippers in the water.

Ahbra and Taylor’s film, “Power of Pearl,” is now in full production. If anyone would like to be a part of this film, sponsor information can be found here.

I’ve also invited Ahbra to do a short series of guest posts on our blog, detailing a day in the life of a pearl farming crew, as told by her experience in Australia. I hope everyone enjoys her story.

We are Heading Back to Asia Next Week

The Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem ShowNext week, Hisano and I will  be heading back to Asia for the biggest pearl-buying trip of the year – the Christmas buy! We will be heading first to Japan, followed by a week in Hong Kong for the large, September jewelry show. This show attracts nearly 52,000 buyers from around the world, including a lot of our friends from Pearl-Guide.com’s forum, turning the week into a family reunion of sorts.

The September show is split into two parts; one at the Asia World Expo at the Hong Kong International Airport, and another at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai. The most important show for us is the one held at the Asia World Expo. This is where the pearl producers exhibit and where jewelry manufacturers go for loose pearls. Finished jewelry is more prevalent at the latter show.

This past June, Hisano and I collected as many truly unique, one-of-a-kind pearls as we could find for the ‘Pearl Connoisseur’ selection we put together early this month. We were thrilled with the overwhelming response, and are now considering doing similar promotions in the future. We will still be on the lookout for the new and the unique this trip, but our main focus this time is going to be on traditional inventory.

As I mentioned in June, if you have something on your wishlist that you would like either one of us to find, drop either one of us an email and we will do our best.

Lastly, I will be speaking at the Wanchai Show on September 16th. If any of our friends are at the show and would like to attend, we would love to see you!

Something special for the true pearl connoisseurs

Over the past few buying trips to Asia, Hisano and I have begun spending more and more time finding special pearls that break from the norm; pearls we appreciate for their rarity and beauty – often individual pearls that are best suited to be designed around. We’ve started amassing quite a collection of giant baroque pearls, rare-colored metallic pearls, Giant Edison button pearls, and many pieces that just caught our eye. But given that so many of these pieces are one of a kind, they never really have the chance to make it onto the website as regular items.

August is going to change this, but with a twist! Hisano, John and Allison have been busy this month, creating a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces as well as special, repeatable pieces with very limited selection. This collection is being created with true pearl connoisseurs in mind, so we are going to do what we can to make sure the connoisseurs see the collection first!

On Thursday, we will be posting a link to the special page from this blog only - that is when the connoisseur collection will be made available. The page will not be linked to the main website like most monthly specials until next week, and we will not be sending out an email to our newsletter subscriber list until next week.

A Sneak Peek!

Metallic White Drop Earrings

8 mm, metallic white drop freshwater pearls on 14k French wire for $35 – only 12 pairs available

 

Three strands of perfect, metallic white drops

Large, color-shifting metallics with complementing colored stone combinations

One HUGE, undrilled 17 mm button-shape Tahitian pearl

One HUGE, undrilled 17 mm button-shape Tahitian pearl

A few notable pearl finds

Following Hong Kong, I spent a week in Europe so we are just now getting around to organizing and categorizing all the pearls Hisano and I were able to find. We were able to collect quite a number of the metallic white drops that sold out in a day last April, and Hisano is currently making as many pairs as possible before reaching out to those awaiting their earrings and pendants.

While we found quite a lot of amazing pearls, a few really stand out as being truly different.

One strand of akoya was unlike any I’ve ever seen. We’ve often carried natural-color silver-blue, golden and natural-white akoya, but this strand is Pistachio. The pearls have a natural, pistachio-green body color with thick, Vietnamese nacre. This strand is one of a kind.

Natural Pistachio Colored Akoya Pearls

Natural-color akoya pearls with pistachio-green body color

Hisano and I spent most of our time looking for the new, unusual and spectacular. Much of this involved going through countless lots of loose pearls to find those rare exotics that break from the norm of typical pearl possibilities. Most of the time there aren’t enough perfect exotics to make uniform strands, so we will typically make either multicolor pieces, or pieces of jewelry that require fewer pearls like tin cups or pendant and earring sets.

That wasn’t the case with the lavender-golds that we collected. We were able to make one strand. The pearls are perfect, and all very close to 10 mm. This is quite possibly the best 10 mm metallic freshadama strand we’ve ever made.

Metallic Lavender Gold Freshadama

A perfect strand of 10 mm, metallic-lavender-gold freshadama pearls

We also spent quite a bit of time collecting fireball pearls. Most of them we kept loose for earrings and pendants, but with some of them we decided to be a bit more creative. Hisano spent several hours collecting enough fireballs with strange, copper-green body color with purple and pink overtones to create a strand and bracelet combination – side-drilled.

This one is eventually going to need a photograph on a bust to really show the uniqueness of the finished piece.

Large fireball freshwater pearls with copper-green body color

Large, side-drilled fireball freshwater pearls with copper-green body color

These are just the tip of the iceberg, and more special finds will be debuting soon! Since Hisano is working with the loose drops and other exotic baroques, I’ll let her describe some of those finds in her own words soon!